We’ve all been told how bad refined sugar is for our bodies. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we have posted many times about the harm sugar can cause to your teeth. And it seems that the more we think about sugar, the more we want it! The truth is, most Americans have a sugar addiction. But like any addiction, our sugar cravings can be overcome. Here are seven tips that can help not just your teeth, but your whole body.
1. Eliminate processed foods
When you go to the store, do you read the ingredients in the foods you buy? If so, then you know that sugar is in almost everything. Ingredients are usually listed according to the amount in the product. The more the ingredient, the earlier it appears on the list. Sugar is often the first, second, or third ingredient in baked goods, but it also can be found in canned goods, dressings, and sauces as well. Make it a habit to check the label for sugar content, and avoid foods with more than a gram or so of sugar. Better yet, avoid processed foods altogether.
2. Eat more vegetables
Many vegetables contain significant amounts of natural sugars. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, sweet peas, bell peppers, and many others are not only good for you, but satisfyingly sweet on their own. When you consume more of these naturally sweet foods, you can reduce intense sugar cravings. Try them as a snack when you need a quick pick-me-up.
3. Sweet spices
Seasoning food with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cloves, and cardamom adds a sweetness that will make food more delicious and satisfy sugar cravings at the same time. Try adding them to meats, plain yogurt and sweet vegetables for a sweeter experience.
4. Eat more protein
Protein helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike and insulin response the way refined sugar does. It also doesn’t cause the “sugar coma” that often follows the sugar rush. Rather, protein gives your body the steady fuel it needs to function with energy. So, with adequate protein intake, your body won’t be craving a quick sugar fix.
5. Eat a balanced diet
Did you ever notice that you crave salt after eating a sweet snack? The opposite is also true: you tend to want something sweet after eating salty food. Dessert doesn’t come first for a reason! By cutting back on the amount of salt you consume, you can help reduce the desire for sugar. Fat and protein will also help in this regard. They will satisfy hunger for a longer period without inducing a craving for sugar.
When we eat processed foods, we can develop certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Magnesium and zinc are two minerals that help to control glucose (sugar) and insulin levels. By taking these minerals as supplements, you can avoid intense sugar cravings.
The amino acid L-glutamine steadies the level of blood sugar. By adding this as part of your dietary supplements, you can reduce or even eliminate the desire for sugar. Just be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.
Without the right amount of exercise and rest, you will experience an increased need for a quick energy fix. Be sure to get enough sleep, and get up from your chair regularly to move your body. You will experience more energy and less tension.
At Lifetime Family Dental, we are concerned with your overall health. Along with a daily habit of brushing and flossing, the elimination of refined sugar will benefit your smile over the course of your life. We know that a proper, well-balanced diet will not only be good for your teeth, but will enhance your overall wellbeing as well. Come see us for a professional cleaning and a checkup and let us encourage you towards a better lifestyle of healthy eating without sugar cravings.